Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Challenges of Studying and Living Abroad: Culture Shock

Identifying the challenges of living and studying abroad: Culture Shock

Related Books

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Challenges of Studying and Living Abroad: Culture Shock

  1. 1. 0 Challenges Faced By International Students: Culture Shock Challenges Faced By International Students: Culture Shock Babajide Alao July 25, 2014
  2. 2. 1 Challenges Faced By International Students: Culture Shock Table of Contents Introduction 2 Culture Shock – The Trauma 2 Culture Shock – The Effect 4 Possible Solution to Culture Shock 5 Conclusions 6 References 7
  3. 3. 2 Challenges Faced By International Students: Culture Shock Introduction Learning is an on-going process, that is, it is never ending. There arise a need for knowledge of diverse culture and differences in beliefs for humans to co-exist in this global economic village. Humans have migrated from society to society and sojourn to learn from and impact one another’s rich cultural heritage. Hence, the evolution of students studying and living abroad. Nevertheless, it is vital to spot out challenges of humans’ slow adaptation to change and exposure to culture shock. It is needful for the learning institution and the host community to be aware of these challenges and incorporate structures to help international students integrate properly into the society as this also promotes a good public image for the institution and the community. The purpose of this report is to identify the challenges faced by international students living and studying abroad and to proffer possible solutions to such challenges. The report has three sections: Culture Shock – The Trauma, Culture Exposure – The Effect and Possible Solutions to Culture Shock. This report has information collected from Journal of Higher Education Policy & Management, International Studies Perspectives, Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, and Higher Education Quarterly. Culture Shock – The Trauma According to Raymond Cohen, “as long as one lives within the confines of a single culture it is difficult to achieve cross-cultural awareness”…“cross-cultural awareness is a state of mind in
  4. 4. 3 Challenges Faced By International Students: Culture Shock which one is alert to alternity, the existence of others possessing different and equally valid world views and way of life” (2001, pp. 151-160). Achieving cross-cultural awareness would involve living within other culture and then realizing how one’s own culture and others’ differences become suddenly obvious. Fortuijn supported this premise with the saying, “Internationalism is an experience for students and staff but it creates language and cultural problems that must be solved if they are to gain the benefit of diversity” (as cited in Higher Education Quarterly, 2012, p. 25). Many international students who have migrated into Canada get exposed to the nostalgia of a first-hand experience with the Canadian culture with the expectations to integrate successfully into the society, and to match the similarities between their goal perceptions and the actual reality of an intending expectation of culture shock. Furthermore, the term culture shock was first used by Oberg; he described culture shock as “the distress experienced by some expatriate Americans who migrate abroad” (as cited in Pantelidou & Craig, 2006). According to Taft, “the concept of culture shock was idealized as comprising six distinct aspects, including the strain of adapting to the new culture, a sense of loss, confusion in role expectations and self-identity, a feeling of being rejected by members of the new culture, and anxiety and feelings of impotence due to not being able to cope with the new environment” (as cited in Pantelidou & Craig, 2006). However, the effect of culture shock negates some avenues of international students’ expectations in a diverse Canadian society. Shaikh Babar and Deschamps Jean-Pierre report that “foreign students live in a much more difficult situation and face the dilemma of adapting into a new culture, new language, and financial difficulties” (2006, pp. 43-51). More so, psychological challenges like isolation, fatigue,
  5. 5. 4 Challenges Faced By International Students: Culture Shock stress, depression, and difficulties in coping with day-to-day problems are frequent notions associated with international students (Shaikh & Deschamps, 2006, pp. 43-51). Transition process resulting from international students migrating from varying climates can be very demanding. However, there are many other challenges faced by international students in their academic sojourn. Culture Shock – The Effect The need to migrate from one environment to another is an old nature of mankind. According to Ryan and Twibell, “migration has been identified as a stressful process, which can pose a risk to the psychological and physical health of migrants” (as cited in Pantelidou & Craig, 2006). Therefore, international students suffer a varying degree of health challenges as a result of differences in time zone, lack of social support, currency conflict, excessive academic workload, and absence of familiar foods (Pantelidou & Craig, 2006). Initially, an international student experience a great deal of excitement sojourning in a new environment and then gets alarmed by the reality of the inevitable; which is change. Berry, Hamburg and Adams concluded that, “the move to a new environment is cited as one of the most traumatic events in a person’s life as in most sojourners some degree of culture shock is inevitable” (as cited in Brown and Holloway, 2008, pp. 33-49). Furthermore, Hall and Oberg defined culture shock “as anxiety that results from losing the familiar signs and symbols of social intercourse, and their substitution by other cues that are strange” (as cited in Brown and Holloway, 2008, pp. 33-49). Therefore, amongst these number of issues affecting the successful academic aspiration of an
  6. 6. 5 Challenges Faced By International Students: Culture Shock international students studying an living in Canada, culture shock seem to be a major concern, opening possible avenues for physiological and psychological distress. Possible Solutions to Culture Shock Despite the many challenges encountered by international students studying and living in Canada, there are many remedies to salvage the situation and help international students achieve a balanced academic and social excellence in a diverse culture. The article, “Effects of Cultural Diversity on In-Class Communication and Student Project Team Dynamics: Creating Synergy in the Diverse Classroom,” express means by which culture shock can be well managed and how to assist international students cope with the challenges of integrating into the society. First, the wealth of knowledge brought together by international students provide a huge pool of initiatives and ideologies of different perceptions to addressing and solving important issues. Second, according to Janis, “diverse groups are less likely to fall into the ‘group-think’ trap” (as cited in Taras & Rowney, 2007, p. 75). Bringing students from across different culture together in a team project does not simultaneously evolve into a progressive performance. Furthermore, Davison supported this premise stating, “Although this initial cross- cultural training may require some time, it will yield great performance improvement” (as cited in Taras & Rowney, 2007, p. 76). Taras and Rowney concluded stating that, “skewed representation should be avoided when assigning students into their project. This will minimize the negative effects of inequalities” (2007, p. 76). Local students and tutors should always consider giving international students the opportunity to voice their opinion, thereby proving there is equality.
  7. 7. 6 Challenges Faced By International Students: Culture Shock Promoting social support and social integration initiatives through implementing a variety of activities on-campus and off-campus to improve on social interaction of international students and the local community at Lambton College and Canada generally. Sporting, social, community, communication, work –related and welfare activities are necessary indicators to ensure a tenable healthy social integration for international students to overcome culture shock (Taras & Rowney, 2007, p. 75). Conclusion and Recommendation Living and studying abroad is not as exciting as it is being propagated especially on issues of culture shock, loss of social support and currency conflicts. Hence, it is important for higher institutions and local community who are accommodating international students to understand the challenges international students experience in order to assist them in successfully achieving a collective synergy and mutual symbiotic relationship. “After all, international relations is above all about the interaction between communities possessing separate identities and autonomous wills“(Cohen, 2001, pp. 151-160). Enabling international students integrate richly into the Canadian society would open diverse of opportunities of a first-hand experience of a different culture and also open avenues of international students bringing helpful perceptions and insights to solving social and economic issues.
  8. 8. 7 Challenges Faced By International Students: Culture Shock References Shaikh, B., & Deschamps, J-P. (2006) Life in a university residence: Issues, concerns and responses. Education for Health: Change in Learning & Practice, 19(1), 43-51. Retrieved from Brown, L., & Holloway, I. (2008). The initial stage of the international sojourn: Excitement or culture shock? British Journal of Guidance and Counselling. 36(1), 33-49. Retrieved from Cohen, R. (2001). Pedagogy in international studies: Living and teaching across culture. International Studies Perspectives, 2(2), 151-160. Retrieved from Pantelidou, S & Craig, T. K. J. (2006). Culture shock and social support: A survey in Greek migrant students. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 41, 777-781. Retrieved from Philip, K., & Yvonne, M. (2012). Culture shock and higher education performance: Implications for teaching. Higher Education Quarterly, 66(1), 25. Retrieved from Taras, V., & Rowney, J. (2007). Effects of cultural diversity on in-class communication and student project team dynamics: Creating synergy in the diverse classroom. International Studies in Educational Administration (Commonwealth Council for Educational
  9. 9. 8 Challenges Faced By International Students: Culture Shock Administration & Management (CCEAM)), 35(2), 76. Retrieved from